Cell phones: the modern convenience. Or at least they would be if you could find them.

My parents, and more recently, my siblings and I, have been dealing with cell phones for several years now. Keeping track of where they are tends to be one of our biggest problems. 

Thankfully, a misplaced phone isn’t usually too hard to find — just call it with another cell phone or one of the house phones. In this family there are lots of people to station at strategic points around the house to listen to ringing. It doesn’t take long before someone yells, “Found it!”

Tracking down lost cell phones is more difficult when phones are on vibrate, however, which is a problem I tend to have. I’m always forgetting to turn the sound back on after classes and work, so when I get home and leave my phone someplace, it’s anyone’s guess where it’ll turn up: between chair cushions, in my purse, or maybe buried under a pile of laundry in my bedroom.

But Mom holds the prize for the craziest place to lose a phone. There was one day we nearly tore the house apart trying to find it, and she called it repeatedly with no result. We were starting to get really desperate when she decided to crack open the freezer, just to check and see.

Lo and behold, there was the phone, sitting on top of the frozen green beans. The phone never recovered from the ordeal, but it made a great story.

As if forgetting a cell phone in the freezer wasn’t bad enough, Dad ruined one of his phones while on a camping trip — by dropping it down a pit toilet. Needless to say, we wrote that one off without attempting to rescue it.

Mom and Dad have the most dubious track records when it comes to cell phones, but that’s only because they’ve had cell phones longer. On the whole, my siblings and I don’t total our cell phones very often, but don’t think that’s because we’re careful with our phones.

Periodic accidental wettings are par for the cell phone course around here. Our phones get spilled on, dropped in sinks, or set in puddles. Thankfully, this is something an overnight stay in a bag of rice can fix easily. We’re also a family of butterfingers, so it’s in our best interests to invest in sturdy cell phone cases. We need those things.

Unfortunately, sometimes having a nearly indestructible phone case isn’t a guarantee. Last year Mom accidentally dropped her phone on the gravel, something that’s normally no big deal and which her case could have handled. But on this particular occasion, the phone landed face down and the screen was punctured, ruining it. 

Under ordinary circumstances, this would have merely been inconvenient, but that also happened to be the weekend of our Live Music Lawn Party. Mom kinda needed a phone.

Cell phones. They’re convenient, but only when you have them.